Entertainment and attractions
As a country beginning with J according to Countryaah, Japan is an inexhaustible storehouse of natural and man-made beauties. Even a few months is not enough to catch a glimpse of the magnificent imperial palaces, luxurious gardens lost in the urban jungle, and grandiose skyscrapers. You can wander around Japanese museums for weeks, comprehending traditional art, studying the rich history of the state and marveling at the flight of thought of modern authors.
The list of the most famous and desirable places to visit is headed by the sacred Mount Fuji, on top of which hundreds of tourists flock every summer, and the White Heron (Himeji) Castle of the 14th century, an example of Japanese architecture.
A tour of Tokyo should start with a tour of the Imperial Palace Park or a stroll through the Ginza and Shinjuku districts, vibrant, dynamic and modern parts of the city where the spirit of modern Japan seems to be in the air. A trip to the Land of the Rising Sun will not be complete without a visit to the Kabuki-za theater, the main automobile museum – the exhibition center of the Toyota Corporation and Tokyo Disney.
Only for viewing numerous castles you need to plan at least a few days: black Matsumoto, located 3 hours drive from Tokyo, elegant Nijo, Nagoya citadel – the residence of the powerful Tokugawa, ancient Matsue with a collection of samurai armor and weapons – the list is endless.
Be sure to visit the International Manga Museum in Kyoto to learn about the history of Japanese comics that have gained popularity around the world. The unique collection of the Miraikan Museum in Tokyo is an exhibition of the most advanced technologies and scientific achievements of the Japanese.
The popular “dinner with geisha” entertainment that is mandatory for tourists in Japan, in truth, is not quite what the average traveler imagines. Firstly, the delight of ladies in Japanese implies downright Victorian chastity: many meters of kimono windings (God forbid, a fragment of the female body will flash – this will offend the samurai’s eyesight!), inaudible steps and eyes on the floor. Secondly, it will not be possible to have a good meal after a hard sightseeing day – old Japanese dishes are served, namely all sorts of fried worm bugs, garnished with a delicacy blade of grass. Thirdly, the skill of a geisha is learned throughout life, and for such a responsible matter as representing the country to tourists, the most experienced, wise and elderly are chosen. Fourth, sweeteners are certainly supposed to sing traditional songs and strum on the local version of the lute. In general, you already understood: dinner with geishas requires Nordic fortitude and a fair amount of love for Japan.
It is impossible to get a complete picture of the nation’s capital without a visit to the Tsukiji fish market. Hundreds of species of sea creatures await customers on the shelves, and local restaurants offer mouth-watering sushi and other snacks.
Traditions and customs of Japan
Throughout its history, Japan has repeatedly passed through periods of openness and isolation, and therefore Japanese culture is something unique: while there is an obvious Chinese influence, it still retains many purely national traditions and customs.
The flowering of the Japanese plum and cherry (March-April) led to the formation of one of the national traditions of Japan – “hanami” or “flower admiring”, accompanied by picnics and walks in the parks.
There are two main religions in Japan: Shinto, based on the animistic beliefs of the ancient Japanese, and Buddhism, brought by monks from China.
- When cherry blossoms in Japan
Japan and karaoke
The national fun of the Japanese No. 1 – karaoke – like all ingenious, was born into the world by pure chance. Back in 1971, the drummer of a now forgotten rock band named Daisuke Inoue noticed that the audience was visibly bored during the intermission. Then the inventive Japanese came up with the idea of playing backing tracks of popular songs (by the way, “karaoke” literally means “empty orchestra”), and so that the audience would not get confused in words, handing out texts to them. Thus, while the musicians were resting, the audience cheered themselves up with choral singing.
However, again, like everything ingenious, Daisuke-san’s invention was not immediately appreciated – karaoke began to win popular love only 15 years later. But today, the number of karaoke bars in the Japanese capital alone goes to the thousands – it is not for nothing that Tokyo has acquired the unspoken title of the world capital of public singing. So it’s quite understandable on vacation the desire “I’ll sing right now!” in Japan will be guaranteed to be implemented.
Holidays and events
Of greatest interest to tourists are the traditional Japanese holidays – matsuri, of which there are more than 200 a year. As a rule, they are accompanied by colorful processions and the performance of certain rituals unique to each region of the country.
Several events have gained worldwide notoriety. First of all, this is the Cherry Blossom Festival – the period from late March to mid-April, when the trees in the parks of Tokyo, Kyoto, Sapporo, Osaka are covered with white and pink buds, and people wander around them in a state of blissful contemplation. No less interesting is the Snow Sculpture Festival, held annually in Sapporo in February and attracting millions of tourists. The March Honen Matsuri is a Shinto festival dedicated to fertility. A vivid illustration of Japanese traditions is the day of commemoration of the dead according to the Buddhist tradition of O-Bon and Setsubun, which marks the onset of spring and is accompanied by a ritual exorcism of demons.
Great luck if a foreigner is lucky enough to get to one of the local festivals, an unforgettable experience is guaranteed.